Monday, June 28, 2010

Australian apathy towards politics

Many Australians do not take an interest in politics. It is such a shame because excessive amounts of money are spent on questionable projects with no proper public disclosure. In many countries, people's right to speak are muted. As a result, open corruption and chicanery are rife over there. In Australia, people are allowed to speak freely, but most choose to give politicians a free hand. As they say, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

The title of this blog is from an article published on 28.6.2010 in The Age by Kenneth Davidson. The writer claims to have been sent letter by a senior bureaucrat explaining the culture of corruption in Victoria. To read the article in full, see:

I'll just reproduce a few lines here.
"Premier John Brumby promotes PPPs as a means of both ingratiating himself to powerful business interests and establishing his credentials as a leader in the world of major public infrastructure development and service delivery."

"... that is why the government has frustrated attempts to gain any meaningful information by classifying the contractual detail as ''confidential''."

"It is clear that the procedures are being manipulated to achieve a favourable private sector outcome. The whole exercise is built around the public sector comparator. It purports to show the ''net present cost'' of the project if it was financed by the government so that if the PPP ''net present cost'' comes in below the public comparator..."

According to the columnist, unfortunately nothing can be done about this. The opposition is failing in its duty to report this blatant abuse of taxpayers' money (re: failed myki, overpriced desalination plant, botched health care system, etc), whereas the Auditor-General is only prepared to examine whether PPPs comply with Partnership Victoria guidelines. As for the voting public, they can be easily swayed by small handouts just before the state election.

(One thing we can do though, is to spread the word around and make people aware that the taxpayers' money is being squandered away at a rate that would make even Marcos and Suharto envious)

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